I love Coalatree products, and I’ve backed three Kickstarter campaigns so far.
Lightweight, packable, and water-resistant, with a ton of pockets. It looked pretty good too, outdoorsy casual but still stylish.
One of the selling points was that it was eco-friendly, made from recycled materials with sustainable production values.
The jackets even came in versions for men and women.
I wanted one for myself (I’m awaiting delivery, so review will follow) and decided I would take advantage of the pricing deal on two jackets and also buy one for my lovely husband Big C.
It has been a source of frustration that he doesn’t own any kind of water-resistant jacket. He goes out in the rain and comes back grumpy because he gets wet and cold. He hates anoraks, raincoats, and windbreakers and refuses to wear one. I was really hoping that this jacket, not being any of those things, would be a success.
Now, Coalatree sizing can be a little tricky. There had been some back and forth on the Coalatree jacket Facebook group about odd sizing and fit. The jacket went up to XL in men’s, but Big C is a big guy, 6’2” with long arms and legs and a barrel chest. Kickstarter doesn’t do returns so I was hoping like crazy that it would fit.
The jacket comes in three colours – grey, green, and black. I went for the black, because, well, it goes with everything, right?
But it finally arrived (unfortunately with customs charges) and I handed it over with bated breath.
Then I took it back so I could take a bunch of pictures. Here they are.
Lots of features on the label. There’s also that nice logo patch on the chest, showing mountains and a city skyline. MTN2CTY – see what they did there?
You always need pockets in a jacket, and Coalatree has been pretty generous with them.
Two zip pockets, one on each side. Plenty of room to keep your hands warm.
Also a breast pocket on the left hand side. It’s large enough for the biggest phone, and has one of those little reinforced holes on the inside to feed through the wire of your headphones.
This pocket on the inside is apparently called a gloves pocket. It’s not zipped, just velcro’d, but it’s unlikely anything will fall out. It’s pretty large too, definitely a handy place to stash your gloves, scarf, newspaper, whatever.
See a little toggle at the bottom of the jacket? There’s one of each side so you can tighten the hem, though I’ve never seen anyone walking around with the bottom of their jacket cinched in. I suspect that’s because it would look rather silly. But it’s there, and it could be useful if you’re concerned about a breeze blowing up your back.
There are also velcro straps around the wrist for further draft-proofing.
It’s soft and padded but very lightly, it’s not thick padding at all. It’s really quite remarkably thin, especially as it’s insulated.
A word about the insulation.
The jacket is filled with something called ComforMax™, which is a special synthetic insulation designed to be non-bulky and effective even when wet.
Back to the pockets.
There’s another inside pocket, this time on the right hand side. This one is vertical, and it’s zipped.
But it’s not just a pocket. The picture on the right shows you the pocket lining pulled out, with the Coalatree logo.
‘Why would you pull out the lining?’ I hear you cry.
Because you can stuff the entire jacket, yes, the whole thing, into that pocket.
There’s a ruler in the picture to give you some idea of scale. It’s pretty small, huh?
It makes a nice pillow, though you might find it a little small if you’re an active sleeper.
There’s also a little loop so you can add a carabiner and attach it to your bag.
One more thing before you see what it looks like on.
This jacket has been variously described as waterproof and water-resistant. Apparently it also retains 93% of its warmth when wet, so that suggests it’s not going to be completely waterproof.
It has been treated in some way so that unless you’re in a deluge, water will roll off it. Water-repellant perhaps?
With perfect timing, the jacket arrived after a bout of exceptionally wet and windy weather, so we haven’t yet been able to test how much rain you need to soak it.
Instead I tried another method to test its water resistance.
I put it under that tap. As you can see, the water does kind of roll off it.
I’ll be interested to see how it holds up to classic British rain, but for the moment, it looks pretty good.
OK, time to see some pictures of Big C posing in his new jacket.
As I said, the cold weather had passed, so when this picture was taken it was about 50°F (10°C) and breezy.
By this point in our walk, the jacket had done such an effective job keeping Big C warm he’d actually taken it off. But I made him put it back on for pictures. (Be warned, cheesy catalog poses to follow.)
The thoughtful pose.
This is the XL jacket. It’s pretty fitted but it’s a good length, even on a tall guy with long arms.
For someone of Big C’s size, a t-shirt was fine underneath, but he said an extra layer would have been too tight under the arms. So it fit well, but it was right at the top end of fitting.
The warmth factor was excellent though, and for a rainy Autumn and Spring, this fits the bill nicely.
The hood is large enough, at least for people with short hair. There are more toggles to tighten it around the front, and you can zip the front of the jacket up high under your chin to keep the wind out. The top of the zip has a little cover so you don’t accidentally catch your chin in the zip.
The back of the hood also has this little reflective logo. It’s a nice touch, but to be honest, if you’re wearing this at night and want to be visible, I’d recommend some high-vis pants or similar.
There’s also a toggle on the hood, but I’m not quite sure what it’s for. I’m sure a hardcore outdoorsy person will be able to tell me!
Wearing this jacket you can lift a branch while looking at your watch.
It’s also useful for climbing up logs.
So, the verdict?
Overall, it’s a success.
These are the things Big C likes:
It’s incredibly light, weighing 445g/15.7oz.
It’s like a padded jacket, but it’s very thin, rather than one of those puffy things that makes you look like Mr Stay Puft.
The water resistance will be very useful because this is the UK, and it rains frequently.
The length is good, even on someone quite tall. At 6’2” it comes below the hips, which removes the risk of getting chilly air round the belly when the arms are lifted.
It’s a nice simple design, no lavish logos or annoying decorations.
It packs down really well.
There are lots of pockets.
Now some additional thoughts.
It fits, but only just. I think the proportions are a little odd.
Big C is big in the torso, but his shoulders aren’t ridiculously wide. I think a big guy who was really broad-shouldered wouldn’t fit into this jacket, even though it’s an XL.
There is no room for an additional layer underneath, it would simply be too tight, especially under the arms.
It’s not cold enough right now to test for proper cold weather, but we’ll see. It claims to be warm down to -20°F (-28°C) but there is no mention of layers. I wish I could test this properly, but unless we get another freak Siberian weather spasm, I’ll have to put a pin in this for the moment.
I do think Coalatree needs to sort out their sizing a little, and make larger sizes. Big C would love a pair of the Adventure Pants, but the inside leg measurement is more than 4” too short.
I’m pretty sure there are quite a few long-legged guys out there who would appreciate longer length pants!
I’ve also seen some comments on Facebook groups about the strange cut of the jacket, that the shoulders are relatively narrow in proportion, and also that it’s simply too small for bigger people. There are measurements on the website, but the proportions seem to be different to standard. Measure carefully.
The length is good on a tall person, but I suspect someone who was around 5’10” would find this rather long. I realise an outdoorsy jacket isn’t going to be particularly short, because you don’t want to get cold round the middle. But again, I’m not quite convinced about the proportions.
There are a couple of little things I think could be improved:
I think the lining should be sewn to more anchor points in the inside of the jacket. Right now it’s only sewn in at the outside seams, which makes it very loose.
Also, the zip should be two-way. The ability to undo a zip at the bottom as well as the top is incredibly useful, and as this is a very functional jacket, this additional function would be very welcome.
But all this being said, I think it’s overall an excellent all-purpose jacket.
Big C likes it very much. It fits and he doesn’t mind too much that he can’t layer. He loves that it is so light and packable.
It’s warm and should keep the rain out.
I like the style. It’s casual for sure, but it looks much more stylish than a regular padded jacket.
I can see where Coalatree is coming from with their
mountain to city MTN2CTY idea. Even though it’s an outdoor adventure-type jacket, it’s smart enough to wear in town without looking like you should be rocking hiking boots and a backpack.
If you’re looking for a useful all-round jacket that will keep you warm and dry, and won’t take up much space, this ticks all the boxes! (Just make sure it fits.)
If you’ve already bought this jacket, tell me what you think!
One more note:
This is the third Coalatree product I’ve backed on Kickstarter, the others being the Puffy Kachula Blanket and the Women’s Adventure Shorts (shorts review here.)
Coalatree have delivered every item on time. Their customer service and communication is excellent. Even if you’re unsure about this jacket, I really recommend the company and their products. They know what they’re doing.
Thanks for reading! Pin this review, and you can read other Coalatree reviews here.
(If you want to read me in rant mode, here’s my review of a crap Kickstarter experience.)